How to Care for Your Child with a Suspected Scaphoid Fracture

This leaflet will provide you with information about scaphoid fracture causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and home care advice.

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How to Care for Your Child with a Suspected Scaphoid Fracture

What is Scaphoid fracture?

  • scaphoid bone is a small bone near the base of the thumb
  • when it is broken it tends to heal slowly because of the poor blood supply and some time it has trouble healing.

What are the causes of Scaphoid fracture?

Scaphoid fracture can occur following:

  • Fall on outstretched hand.
  • Blow to the wrist.
  • Car accident.

What are the symptoms of Scaphoid fracture?

Symptoms of scaphoid fracture include:

  • Pain.
  • Swelling around the wrist
  • Tenderness.
  • Inability to move the wrist or/and thumb.

How is Scaphoid fracture diagnosed?

The doctor will ask few questions about your child’s health and examine your child. Your doctor may request X-Ray of your child’s wrist.

How is Scaphoid fracture treated?

Based on the clinical assessment and the x-ray finding, the doctor will be able to advise you about the treatment options that may include:

  • Removable Splint (splint is like a cast but it has a soft covering  that allows room for swelling).
    • If a splint is used, your child will be given a follow up appointment within 10 days
    • A repeat x-ray may be required, and the splint may be changed to a full cast.
    •     Some types of fracture can only be managed by certain types of splints.
  • Cast
    • If a cast was placed, your child will be given an appointment for regular follow up until the fracture has healed, this may take up to 12-14 weeks
  • Surgery
    • On rare occasions, some fractures may need surgery to fix the broken bone.    

Home care advice  

  • Leave the splint or cast in place until it is removed by your health care provider.
  • If your doctor advises to give pain medicine, you can give:
    • Paracetamol (any brand) or Ibuprofen (any brand)   
    • Follow the instruction on the medicine package for the correct dose for your child
    • Do not give your child Aspirin as this can cause serious complications
  • For swelling and pain in the first 24 – 48 hours after the injury:
    • Use pillows to raise the wrist of your child above the level of his heart.
    • Apply cold packs wrapped in a towel to the cast or splint for 20 – 30 min every 3 – 4 hours.
  • Encourage your child to wiggle his fingers to keep blood circulating normally.

Do Not:

  • Do not get the cast or splint wet. your child should bath instead of shower, and use a plastic cover while bathing and keep it completely out of the water.
  • Do not put anything inside the splint or cast (including objects, fingers, lotions or powders).
  • Do not blow hot air in the cast, for itching use a cool hair dryer or blow air in and around the edges of the cast or splint.            

When should I seek medical advice?

Seek medical advice if:

  • Your child gets a fever without a clear reason.
  • Your child’s pain is not relieved by pain medication or gets worse.
  • There are blisters, rashes, or raw spots on the skin around the cast or splint.
  • A bad smell or discharges comes from the cast or splint.

Go to the Emergency Department if:

  • Your child fingers turn numb, tingly, pale or blue.
  • The cast or splint feels too tight or too lose.
  • The cast or splint gets wet, cracks or falls off.